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Cannot click active windows at times, pc freezes and is a struggle to


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#46
Samm

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When you selected safe mode, did you make sure you also selected the Network option? Safe mode with networking should give you the Internet. That said, it might not if you are using a USB modem...

I can't remember now which type of modem you have & I can't get access to your win audit report easily as I'm currently using my laptop - if you have a modem with a network port on the back (as well as USB) & you also have a network card (I'm fairly sure you do), then you should be able to connect the modem to the network card using a standard CAT5 network cable, instead of USB. This will then allow you to have Internet access in safe mode as no special drivers are required for the modem this way.

I'm fairly certain if you do have a network card, then it's an integrated one i.e part of your motherboard. This means the port will be on the rear I/O panel, probably near the USB ports. The port will look like a phone jack but slightly bigger.

If your system does prove to be stable in safe mode, then this would suggest that the problem is with either a driver or a program as opposed to a hardware problem. However, I would advise you run it in safe mode a few days before drawing that conclusion. Obviously this is going to be a more viable option if you can get Internet access in safe mode.

As for a new computer - you can certainly buy a new computer for not much more money. However, a lot of the time you won't get a decent power supply. Also, the motherboards tend to be ones with a lot of integrated components (eg video/sound/network etc). This often means that there are very few PCI or PCI Express ports on the board which will limit the potential to upgrade or add other cards in the future. (In particular, video).
You may also find that it comes with generic memory. The actual difference in price between generic memory & decent quality (eg Kingston/Crucial/Corsair/OCZ) memory a just a few quid. But decent memory is likely to be more reliable that generic & most importantly, comes with a lifetime warranty. (Generic stuff does not).

You will also find that a lot of system manufacturers do not tell you what make/model of motherboard is in the system (assuming they are using a 3rd party board to start with).

If you decide to go out & buy a new complete system, then I would advise you try Dell - Dell tend to be very reasonably priced, plus you can pretty much select all the components individually i.e custom build it to a large extent.
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#47
kingtaz

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thanks samm ill try running it in safe mode for a few days and see how things go then. if all does go well that way, what would be a solution? i have all my important document and files etc stored on my exernal hard drive so if i were to format the hard drive and reinstall xp it shouldnt be too much of a problem with losing data etc.

ill let you know how things go in safemode over the next few days and get back to you.

cheers

kingtaz
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#48
Samm

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If all goes well in safe mode, then yes, I would recommend a fresh install of windows. If you do decide to do this, then I would recommend you take the following precaution in regards to drivers...

After you install windows, as you will already know, much of your hardware will already have drivers installed because windows comes with a lot of drivers built in to it's own driver database. Only install 3rd party drivers for hardware which has no driver installed by windows. i.e don't upgrade any of the windows drivers.
If you need to install 3rd party drivers for anything, then go to the relevant manufacturers website & look for a driver that's WHQL certified, as opposed to a beta driver for example.

WHQL certified drivers are more likely to be stable than non-certified ones. If there are no whql drivers available but there are several driver versions (or revisions), then I suggest you go not for the very latest driver but the one before it. The idea here is that it's often easier to upgrade a driver, if necessary, to a later one but difficult to 'upgrade' to an older one.

I would also recommend that after the fresh installation you run the system with the minimum amount of software installed until you are sure it's stable.


In case you're interested.....
I've just ordered a load of new parts for my own computer from Ebuyer. My current system is actually almost identical spec to yours & as I've mentioned before, I too have been having problems with it lately. As I'm certain the cause of my problems is the motherboard, I've just ordered a new board, cpu, memory & power supply. Here's what I've bought & the prices :

Asrock AM2 motherboard £33 (this is an unusual one because it actually has an AGP slot & 5 PCI slots so no video upgrade to PCI Express required!)
1GB OCZ DDR2 memory £32
AMD Athlon 64x2 (dual core) 4000+ AM2 Retail boxed £41
Antec 500W modular PSU £30

So in case you do decide you need to upgrade - that little lot only comes to £130 with free delivery!
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#49
Samm

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One other thing while I think of it.....

I seem to recall then when I originally read your previous topic in the Malware forum, you said you had already run Memtest and found no errors. Can you confirm that please?
If so, did you run memtest on one stick at a time? i.e by removing any additional sticks first.

I only ask because memory would another possible hardware cause of your problems - although you would generally expect more blue screen errors with faulty memory. I've discounted that idea up until now because I'm certain you said you've already run memtest but thought it may be worth double checking with you...
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#50
kingtaz

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hi samm. yeah i ran the memtest thing but i did not take out any individual memory sticks when doing so. i have 2 memory sticks in my pc (both 512mb) and i ran the memtest with both in. currently running in safe mode and there does not appear to be any problems.

however, after i did the xp repair and tried to install servce pack 2, the installation cut out and i got a blue screen. the system then rebooted after a memory dump and informed me that it had recovered from a serious error. i have tried to install sp2 twice and this happened. so even if i was to run my pc normally it would only be in sp1. is this safe? what do you think caused this?

ill run the pc in safe mode for another day or 2 and then probably just format my hd and reinstall xp

with regard to the hardware you listed there that you bought, how easy would it be to install this in my pc? the inside of my pc does look really simple in layout but is it really easy to fit the motherboard and power supply into the system?

how good is that processor you have bought? and how much space for upgrade is there on the motherboard?

thanks

taz
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#51
kingtaz

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just to add something samm. i came across, what i think, is a really good deal on Dell for a pc. its the vostro 200 mt

heres the specs for it for £270 delivered:

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4400 Processor (2.0GHz,800MHz,2MB cache)

Genuine Windows Vista™ Home Basic - English

Base Warranty - 1 Year Business Hardware Support

2048MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2x1024]

Hard Drive 320GB (7200rpm) Serial ATA/100 Hard Drive with 16MB DataBurst™ cache

256MB ATI® Radeon® X1300 Pro PCI Express graphics card

16x DVD +/- RW Drive

Dell™ Enhanced USB Multimedia Keyboard - UK/Irish (QWERTY)

Dell™ 2 Button USB Scroll Optical Mouse - Black

it doesnt come with a monitor but i have one. for the money i think it looks really good. if i was to buy similar components to upgrade my current pc then i would be talking £200 anyway.

What are your thoughts on Vostro machines and that pc in general?

Really tempted but would like some advice on whether you think it is a good deal or not

cheers

kingtaz
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#52
Samm

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Re. SP2 installation - without SP2, XP tends to run like a pile of poo, although the actual installation process of SP can be fairly flaky itself, as you've found out! In order to possibly give you a better idea as to what the problem is, I would need to know the error code. If you are getting a blue screen, then this almost certainly a STOP error. When it happens you should see the word 'STOP' followed by a string of hexadecimal numbers such as: STOP 0xC0000001 (a065cc00, 00000000, 00000000, 00000001). I need to know the hex code that follows the word STOP (i.e the 0x00000000 part). The remaining 4 sets of hex code in brackets may be useful but not essential at the moment.

Also, try & make a note of whether it's the same STOP error every time.

Re. upgrade....provided your computer case isn't a tiny little one & therefore only suitable for microATX boards, then you shouldn't have a problem fitting the board I've just ordered into your case. If your case will only take microATX however, there are plenty of micro ATX size motherboards around that would fit. Same applies to the power supply. To be honest, as you don't seem to have a branded computer (eg Packard Bell, HP etc) then the chances are your case & PSU are full size, so there shouldn't be a problem.

As for how easy it is to upgrade - it's not hard until it doesn't work! In other words, a trained monkey could probably manage to swap out the motherboard/cpu/ram/psu & providing the system booted up OK afterwards, then no problem. The potential trouble arises when the newly upgraded system doesn't boot up! I'm not talking about whether XP manages to boot successfully because after a motherboard replacement, it's safer to assume XP WON'T boot & will require a fresh install. When I say boot, I mean simply whether the system posts - i.e powers on, display appears on screen, memory count is correct & all drives are detected.

The only potentially tricky physical part of the upgrade, is making sure that the thermal compound is correctly applied to the cpu before mounting the heatsink & then correctly fitting the heatsink/fan assembly. This is critical because if either one is wrong, the cpu will overheat & burn out very quickly. Don't panic though - there are some really good guides on the Internet for how to applying thermal paste & the motherboard manual will contain instructions for fitting the heatsink. All you need to do is make sure you follow them exactly!


In regards to the board I've just ordered - it's upgrade potential for CPU & RAM is good (it has 4 ram slots & takes a max of 8GB of ram apparently!) The CPU I've ordered (Athlon 64x2 4000+) runs at 2.1GHz & is a dual core, 64 bit cpu. I won't benefit from the 64bit part at the moment as I'll only be running a 32bit OS, but it'll be faster than what I have now which is an overclocked Athlon XP 1700+. There are faster processors out there that I could have ordered but would have cost more obviously. This one will be more than adequate for what I need so I don't see the point in spending more money than this. The board itself will support up to an Athlon 64x2 6400+ (3.2GHz).

One of the reasons I picked this board instead of a slightly newer one, it that has 5 PCI slots + AGP. Most newer boards only have 2 or 3 PCI slots, plus a couple of PCI Express slots. As I have several PCI cards that I wish to carry on using, and no PCI Express cards, I decided on this particular board. If you want to check it out for yourself, the board is an Asrock AM2NF3-VSTA.
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#53
kingtaz

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hi samm. been running the pc in safe mode for the last few days. bad news as its crashed 3 times during this time. What do you think is the problem now then?

with regard to the dell pc specs i posted, im seriously thinking of getting this soon but still want to try and sort this pc out so it can still be used by others in the household. do you think the dell one is a good deal for £270?

cheers

kingtaz
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#54
Samm

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Sorry - completely missed your previous post about the Dell....

I'm not that familar with the Vostro range. From what I understand Dell released them as a replacement to the Dimension & aimed at the business end of the market. I'd would imagine they're probably fine - most Dell stuff usually is & the price is very good for the specs that you get.

The only things you may want to consider are :

1) The operating system. I would recommend XP Home or Pro (not media centre) instead of Vista if they give you a choice. I have heard that Dell have gone offering XP as an alternative to Vista so this may be worth checking out.

2) The warranty - Dell normally give you an option of a longer warranty (ie 3 years). Obviously whether this is worth it depends entirely on the additional cost of the extended warranty....


Re. your current problems with crashing. This is starting to look more and more like a hardware issue. As I've already mentioned - this could mean the motherboard is responsible but you may want to try this first - you have 2 sticks of ram, right? Disconnect the power to the system & open up the case. Have look at the memory slots on the board (you may need a torch) - you should see that the slots are numbered in some way (usually just 1, 2, 3 or similar). Remove the memory stick that's in the highest numbered slot. i.e assuming you have sticks in slots 1 + 2, remove the stick in slot 2.

Run the system in normal mode & see if it still crashes. If it does, try replacing the stick you removed back into slot 2 and remove the stick thats in slot 1.
NB The sticks only fit in one way round - you'll notice that the notch in the modules metal contacts is slightly off centre, so make sure when you reinsert a stick that it's correctly aligned first & never force it! When you insert a module, make sure the plastic clips at either end of the slot are fully open. Line the module up in the slot & press down on either end until the plastic clips spring shut.

Let me know if this makes any difference.
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#55
kingtaz

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ill try the memory thing later then and see if that works

with regard to the dell pc, why do you not recommend vista? is it too early to be using it?

i think the extended warranty is around £100 extra. do you think it is worth it? are dell pc's reliable or not? do you think i would have problems after a year?

The vostro system is designed for businesses as you say but if i can still get xp home with it i dont see it making any difference to me, especially with the specs for that price. its still going to work as a pc with they specs so it will be good enough for me

cheers

kingtaz
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#56
Samm

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I think £100 for the extended warranty is probably not worth it in that case. No single component is going to cost more than £100 to replace (and probably much less), especially in a year or twos time.

Why would I not recommend Vista? Let me see....to start with, as with all newly released Microsoft platforms, it's still as buggy as [bleep]. There are still plenty of compatibility issues with software & even some hardware. Remember what XP was like prior to the service packs being released? You said yourself the other day, when you rolled back your XP install & only had SP1 installed, your system was noticably worse. That's why!

The other reason not to use Vista is that it's so resource intensive.
The minimum supported system requirements for memory (Vista Home Basic) is 512MB. This may not sound too bad but consider what XP's minimum supported requirements are (as stated by MS) : 64MB! (128MB recommended).
Have you ever seen XP running on 64MB of ram, or even 128MB of ram? No, neither have I and I wouldn't want to either!
My point is this - whatever MS say the minimum requirements are for ram, yoiu need to at least treble this figure to get an idea of what it will really need. And thats just to run the OS smoothly, not any other additional software.

Not consider that the Dell comes with 2GB of ram. This is a lot of memory but it probably won't feel like a huge amount under Vista, especially after you've used it a while. It will feel like a lot with XP though.

It's entirely up to you of course but personally I would recommend that if possible, you stick with XP for now & wait for Vista to stablise a bit before upgrading to it.
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#57
kingtaz

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hi samm. i tried changing the memory around. running it with just the 512MB of ram. i have just formatted the hard drive and reinstalled windows. i installed service pack 2 with no problems and installed avg as well.

however, i have already experienced twice the original problem of not being able to click active windows at times. the first time it happened was when opening a folder in my computer and not being able to click anything on that window and the second time was right after startup when i was unable to click the start button on the taskbar. on both occasions i had to use ctrl+alt+del to sort it.

seeing as the pc has a new fresh installation of xp with only service pack 2 and an anti virus program installed, why do you think this problem exists? is it clearly a hardware issue as there is no software installed that could have caused this?

hope to hear from you soon

kingtaz
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#58
Troy

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The only other thing I can think may be causing the issue is a faulty software installation. I have seen random things happen because the user was installing:

*From a Windows CD that was extremely scratched, somehow managed to install but it was just stuffed up; and
*From a burnt copy (read: illegal) of a Windows CD that was downloaded from P2P; and
*From a faulty CD player in the computer, I don't know how it installed, but when we did it again with a new drive it was perfect...

kingtaz, I suggest you check your disc and CD drive. If it is a legit Windows CD and it isn't scratched, then I would say it's hardware.
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#59
kingtaz

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hi

loking at the disc it is actually a little bit scratched but doesnt look to be that bad. do you think this could really cause the clicking active windows problem?

pc is starting up fine after the reinstallation. no problems as yet with crashes either. will give it time though to see how it goes

kingtaz
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#60
Troy

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If it's just a little bit scratched, then I would consider it to be a hardware problem, as we are considering. It was just a thought on what I had seen happen. I'm surprised at how easy it is to get an illegit version of Windows over P2P programs these days, and the funny thing is the downloads are usually the wrong size. It's either bigger or smaller than the official XP cd, and I wonder "What did they add or take away?" I stay well clear of P2P programs these days, though, after being infected far too much...
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